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On Monday, the US Army Corps of Engineers submitted to Congress a long-awaited report on options to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes. Formally titled the “Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study” (GLMRIS), it sought to determine potential solutions to the threat that Asian carp present to the largest group of freshwater lakes in the world. The document suggests eight possible courses of action, the most expensive of which will take 25 years and cost over $18 billion to complete.

Asian carp are a highly invasive freshwater species first imported to the United States in the late 1960s. The fish were used primarily in aquaculture to control plant growth, but it did not take long for some to escape into the Mississippi River. Asian carp quickly colonized the waterway and began spreading to connected rivers, eventually reaching the Illinois River and Chicago Area Waterway System. From there, it is a simple hop to Lake Michigan.

The efforts of numerous government agencies have prevented the carp from spreading with the use of electric barriers and other methods. However, recent reports of Asian carp DNA in the Great Lakes and concerns over the electric barriers have raised the issue’s priority.

“We need work to begin on projects to permanently prevent Asian carp from destroying the Great Lakes, and we need it to begin now,” said Senator Debbier Stabenow (D-Michigan) in a statement.

The Stop Invasive Species Act signed by President Barrack Obama in 2012 expedited the completion of the report, which was originally expected in 2015. The act directed the Corps to bring to Congress a number of fully fleshed-out approaches to stop the spread of Asian carp. However, some are saying that the report submitted on Monday fell short of expectations.

Steve McCadams is a professional hunting and fishing guide here in the Paris Landing area. He has also contributed many outdoor oriented articles to various national publications.



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